Working holidays are now one of the best gap year options available to young people enhancing their work experience before or after study. If you’re not sure where to start looking, read on for some ideas that might get you thinking of opportunities beyond the local office.
Cold weather ideas
Going away in the winter time? One of the best places to find short-term, seasonal work is among the ski chalets of Alpine France or Austria. You don’t have to have ski experience although if you have hit the slopes before, you could earn a decent wage as an instructor. But there are any number of hospitality jobs out there, from chalet hosting and housekeeping, to cooking in the kitchens, working the bars or operating the ski lifts.
In French resorts like Morzine, there are courses which train you on every aspect of your working holiday abroad and many 4-month contracts come with accommodation and food included. With time to travel before or after the job, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to see the country as well.
Gap years on the coast
The good news about a working holiday abroad is that if you pick your destination well, you could end up spending your days off lounging on golden sands or snorkelling beneath the waves. Popular destinations like Australia and Thailand are welcoming more gap year workers from the Northern hemisphere each year and with good reason: more employment prospects and spectacular sights in a climate reliably warmer than you may be used to.
If you’re a seasoned scuba diver or wind-surfer, you can work towards a teaching qualification on a Thai island like Phuket and make your stay a longer one. The tourism industry often has openings for waitressing or bar-tending in well-travelled places like Sydney. Moreover, many gap year operators will help you to settle in and look for jobs when you arrive, making the process much more manageable.
The more choice jobs like working cruise liners in the Pacific or Caribbean may be harder to secure but the lifestyle and job perks are certainly worthwhile if you have the necessary characteristics and service background. Not all contracts require previous experience on the seas either.
Teaching where it’s needed
Native English speakers have been offering their language skills all over the world for many years and the demand shows no sign of slowing. You will need to train for a TEFL or similar qualification before you leave but you can expect to pick from destinations as diverse as Peru and Kenya once you’ve gained the skills.
Aside from the monetary gain, taking the English Language to poorer communities in Delhi or remote African villages can bring genuine value to other lives and give you an experience to be proud of.
It’s a good idea to start by drafting a plan of either where you would like to end up, or what activity you want to do. There may be limits on the number of countries where you can work in animal conservation, just as ski resort positions in Italy are unlikely to crop up south of the Dolomites. With more gap years taking place post-degree due to rises in tuition fees, the working holiday can be a great way of getting valuable experience on your CV before plunging into the jobs market at home.
AUTHOR: Jennifer is a travel writer specialising in youth volunteering and the working holiday abroad. She’s blogged on a wide range of subjects from school trips to Washington DC to how to become a tour guide in New Zealand.
Bio: Allison Carlton is The Traveling Bard. She describes herself as “a word warrior who is pursuing a search, a mission, an adventure, a quest, a voyage, a journey -- anything that will get the dirt of vast lands caked to the bottom of my shoes.”
Carlton is an Arizona native and a journalism graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. She is the assistant editor at True West magazine. Her life as a travel writer exists during weekends when she’s exploring “this wonderful state of Arizona.” She gives a shout-out to her friends because “I would not have any stories or videos to share with you if it were not for my friends -- most of whom you can spot in my videos and pictures.”
Carlton chooses her destinations and accepts no free lodging or other gifts in connection with the blog.